Kalashnikov AK-47

Reliable in extreme conditions, simple to use and cheap to produce – the  AK-47 assault rifle was designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov after WWII. The originalI AK-47 model has spawned a host of derivative assault rifles.       The AK-47 is reportedly the most widely...

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U.S. Weapons WWII

    Some U.S. mass-produced weapons of WWII like the M-4 Sherman tank, the P-40 and P - 39 fighter planes and early model torpedoes, aside from the vast numbers, achieved dubious performance records. Ultimately, however, America produced vast amounts of weapons and...

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Bikini Atoll Atomic Bomb

On 1 July 1946, the United States conducted Operation Crossroads Test Able, the first of a series of 67 American nuclear tests after WWII. The explosion took place at the Bikini Atoll lagoon, situated in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.   The bomb, almost...

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Hermes Rocket Project

The American Hermes Missile Project began in 1944 in response to Germany's rocket attacks in Europe. After the war, with the help of captured German rocket scientists, General Electric assembled V-2 rockets at the White Sands, New Mexico Proving Grounds. The first...

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You and the Atomic Bomb

Just months after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, George Orwell published an essay entitled You and the Atomic Bomb in the London Tribune. The first one to use the term "cold war," Orwell outlines in the prophetic excerpt below a rationale that would...

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A-Bomb Morality

Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd The concept of a nuclear chain reaction reportedly came to the physicist Leó Szilárd as an epiphany while waiting to cross a London street in 1933. “...It suddenly occurred to me that if we could find an element which is split by...

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V-2 to Apollo – Wernher von Braun

The German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun was a complex character. Fascinated by astronomy since childhood, he studied at the Technische Hochschule Berlin and the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin, receiving a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and...

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Great Marianas Turkey Shoot

The Battle of the Philippine Sea was the last large scale carrier battle the Imperial Japanese Navy was able to conduct. In the air, the sheer number of Japanese compared to U.S. losses inspired the American nickname for the battle - the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot....

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Buzz Bombs – Vergeltungswaffen

Carrying a ton of explosives, the V1 rocket flew at ~400 mph with a range of 200 miles. Launched from the occupied French coast, the first V-1 "Buzzbomb" (Vergeltungswaffen) attacked London on 13 June 1944, immediately after the Allied D-Day invasion. British...

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V-2 Rocket

The German V-2 (Vergeltungswaffe 2–"Retribution Weapon 2") was Mankind's first long-range guided ballistic missile. Powered by a liquid-propellant rocket engine, more than 3000 V-2 rockets were launched against Allied cities in 1944. The initial V-2 target was London;...

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Naming of the Parts

Henry Reed  (1914-1986) was a British poet, translator, radio dramatist and journalist.  Lessons of the War, published in 1942, was a collection of three poems parodying WWII British army basic training, which had a shortage of equipment at that time. The poem...

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Panzerlied 

The Panzerlied (tank song), was adapted from a German sailor's song in June 1933 by Oberleutnant Kurt Wiehle of the Wehrmacht.  Since Germany, in defiance of the Treaty of Versaille, was clandestinely developing an armored force at the time, the Panzerlied might be...

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Flamethrower

The flamethrower has a long history of military use. - In the first century AD, the Greek navy developed a hand-pumped apparatus that shot bursts of fire at enemy ships. - In the 10th century AD, the Chinese employed a piston-driven weapon that sprayed “fierce fire...

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Bazooka

In late 1918, American engineers designed a prototype rocket-powered, recoilless weapon; but with war ending, further development was postponed. In late 1942, the Rocket Launcher, M1A1 was introduced as an anti-tank weapon. The hand-held weapon fired high explosive...

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Scrap Metal Drives

https://youtu.be/CaD161ENVl0 During WWII, massive amounts of metal were required for weapons production (the manufacture of one tank required 18 tons of metal; one of the navy’s biggest ships took 900 tons). During the war, all metal products (necessary for weapons...

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Hedgehog

In 1942 the British Royal Navy introduced a new forward-throwing anti-submarine weapon to supplement the depth charge. Nicknamed the hedgehog after its configuration of small spiked fittings mounted on a mortar bomb, the Hedgehog exploded on contact, rather than at a...

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M1 Garands & Cigarettes

  During WWII the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company ran a series of advertisements with unsubstantiated claims that Camel cigarettes had the best taste and throat comfort. This ad suggests that Camels were also the favorite of the soldier who fires the M1 Garand. It...

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German Nuclear Weapon Development

In 1927, the German theoretical physicist Werner Karl Heisenberg published his famous paper regarding the  uncertainty principle . In 1932 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for the his role in creating the field of quantum mechanics. In 1939, shortly after the discovery...

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U.S. Arms Merchant Ships

  Prior to the U.S. entry into WWII, the U.S. Neutrality Act of 1936 prohibited  the arming of American merchant ships carrying war supplies to the Allies.  With increasing attacks by German aircraft and submarines  in war zones, Congress amended the act in November...

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Manhattan Project

In October 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt privately proposed to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that the countries pool their resources and research facilities to develop an atomic bomb. In 1939, physicists Leó Szilárd and Eugene Wigner drafted a letter...

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Why Are Chemical Weapons More Repugnant Than Explosives?

Syrian soldier aims an AK-47 Although killing  ~100,000 people in the current Syrian conflict with conventional weapons is disturbing, recent public condemnation of  ~1500 deaths due to poison gas has been much more strident. Even Hitler forbade the use of chemical...

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M1 Garand Rifle

The M1 Garand officially replaced the bolt-action M1903 Springfield as the standard service rifle of the United States Armed Forces in 1936.  General George S. Patton called it "the Greatest Battle Implement Ever Devised."...

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Japanese Gun Control

The arrival of guns in 1542  dramatically changed the nature of war in Japan. The aristocratic Bushi warrior class, however, thought firearms were undignified and preferred swords or spears. In fact, the cult of the sword persisted into the Second World War, when...

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Imperial Japanese Army

  Type 95 Ha Go tank 1935; Wikimedia Commons In the 1930s, the Imperial Japanese Army developed mechanized infantry units with the  Type 95 light tank produced by Mitsubishi.  The Type 95 tank saw significant action in the "China Conflict," where,  although lightly...

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